Axis Bank Ltd. / mismanagement of demat account
I had Demat account with Fort Branch of Axis bank since 15th January, 2004. I had given request to transfer my Demat account from Fort Branch to Napean Sea Road Branch sometime in December, 2007, to have it linked with my Savings Account with same bank to see my holdings online thru I connect.
I have sent my person to submit this request for Transfer of Demat account at Fort Branch. However, the application was not accepted and same was returned sighting reason that the Owner of the account has to be personally present to pay amount if any, outstanding in his account before transfer.
On my personal visit to Fort Branch along with my colleague, I was informed that nothing is outstanding to be paid on account of Demat charges and Demat account will be transferred to Napean Sea Road Branch in due course.
Demat Account was then transferred to Napean Sea Road Branch on 18-Dec-07. On the same day there was a Suo-moto charge of Rs.174.71 to my savings bank account with Napean Sea Road branch without any intimation to me. This I observed when I have taken mini statement from ATM center, sometime in first week of January.
I have inquired about the same with Napean Sea Road Branch of Axis Bank on phone where I was first told that these are the charges for some transaction by me. Around same time I also observed remark on my Demat Statement on Status of my Demat account as "Suspended for Debit". I was amazed at the reply by Napean Sea Road Branch reply, as neither I have done any transactions since very long nor I could do any transaction when market crashed as my Demat account was “Suspended for Debit”, needless to say, leading to huge losses to me.
Meantime, I have received my statement of Demat showing my Holdings & Transactions for the Q III i.e. for the period 01-Oct-07 to 31-Dec-07 with a remark of “Suspended for Debit”, confirming the Suspension. I have also requested for the details of the amount of Rs.174.71 which till now it is not made available to me. Most shocking part here is that I have not given instruction for Direct Debit to my Savings account.
Meantime, I was in regular in my follow up with Ms. Priyanka of Napean Sea Road Branch for answer to my questions and she has tried to help me to sort out the problem and was kind enough to arrange to fax me a statement on 23-Jan-08 showing details of charges in my account since 15-Jan-04 which was showing weird figures. An amount of Rs.775.26 paid by me on 07-July-06 at the Fort Branch was not accounted at all which subsequently was accounted on 23-Jan-08, delay of almost one and half years. Further, there is one more amount of Rs.112.13 paid by me on 03-Dec-04 which is still not accounted by them. I have already furnished the acknowledgment for receipt of this payment but they have asked me to show my bank statement where this amount is debited. They have also told me that this acknowledgment was subject to clearance of cheque which is not mentioned anywhere on the acknowledgment stamp
On inquiring personally, why my Demat account was Suspended for Debit, I was given irresponsible replies like, there are some charges pending for Demat. What do some amount outstanding means? On further query at Napean Sea Road Branch regarding What was the exact amount outstanding & why my account was not debited for the entire amount on 18-dec-07 itself? I was replied that there might be insufficient balance in my savings account. Yet another irresponsible reply as on checking the status of my Savings account on 18-Dec-07, I had clear balance of Rs.31, 866.30. This confirms that nobody really knew what was happening and bank staff was literally playing with my Demat and Savings account as amount debited to my savings account was without any Direct Debit instruction from me. How can representatives of the branch give such an irresponsible answer without checking the authenticity of their answer? I have tried to explain the situation to Branch Manager of Napean Sea Road Branch, who was rude in reply, stating that He was aware of what has happened and knew why my account was debited. However, none of his written reply stands with his statement. as you will observe in the analysis of the annexure of the charges.
I was left with no choice but to write a written complain addressed to Branch Manager of Napean Sea Road Branch seeking clarification. I have also added a Post Script to the same letter, allowing your bank to debit my account for charges still outstanding on my account, if any, with the note to resolve the differences later as they were showing still some more amounts outstanding. However, nobody knew the exact quantum of the amount. This authorization for Direct Debit is limited to this transaction only.
However, despite my instructions, my Demat account remained under suspension till 06-Feb-08 and suspension was released on after further debit of Rs.382.61 on 05-Feb-08 to my savings account. Meantime, I have received call from Ms. Madhavi from Fort Branch to sort out the issue and she wanted to have clarifications regarding my letter to Branch Manager of Napean Sea Road Branch which was in turn forwarded to Fort Branch.
I had been to Fort Branch once again. They have checked their records and were unable to find out break up of the amount of Rs.174.71 which was debited to my account on 18-Dec-07. They have accepted that something wrong has definitely being happened and nobody had the clue what they have done.
Now let me draw your kind attention to the second reply received from Branch Manager of Napean Sea Road Branch along with Depository Statement and the Statement showing Details of amount received by Axis Bank against Bill book by Axis Bank dt. March 01, 08. Its careful scrutiny leads to a conclusion that the statements are manufactured and misleading, giving wrong information and are away from the facts of actual transactions and charges for the same. The two clarifications given in the second reply also shows irresponsibility in conduct as evident from first reply as I was never informed by bank that my account was transferred in frozen state and action from second reply as why they need two installments to recover such a small amount? What was the rationale behind this? We analyze both the statements annexed to second reply one by one below.
This reply negates the first reply by the Branch Manager of Napean Sea Road Branch himself in which he has stated that Fort Branch will reply.
Depository Billing Statement
First of all, the Particulars of charges do not have any dates corresponding to charge in the statement which raises obvious doubts. Secondly, the amount of Service Tax does not match with Service Charges in the statement. There are at least five instances of Service Tax being charged in the statement without corresponding Service Charge. There are at least six instances of amount charged without any incidence of Service Charges.
Thirdly, there is note no.5 which states that “Your bill will be debited to your bank account with AXIS Bank Ltd, subject to availability of funds.” How would bank debit my account directly without my authorization? Fourth point is note no.7 to the Billing Statement, which states that “Service Tax is recovered @ 12.36% of the bill amount inclusive of Education Cess.” What is the significance of this note on Depository Billing Statement for the period 01-March-04 to 31-March-07? The rates were different at different period of time.
Fifth and most important point is that, if you compare two statements received from same branch, they do not match internally as to their individual transaction. In my opinion, this statement is prepared to misguide user of the statement. It is fraudulent in its letter and spirit.
Details of Payment Received.
An amount of Rs.775.26 paid by me on 07-July-06 at the Fort Branch was not accounted at all which subsequently was accounted on 23-Jan-08, delay of almost one and half years. Further, there is one more amount of Rs.112.13 paid by me on 03-Dec-04 is still not accounted by them.
1. Why my Demat account was “Suspended for Debit”?
2. How can I do any transaction when my account was suspended for debit from 01-Oct-07 to 31-Dec-07?
3. Why there was Debit of Rs. 174.71 in my Savings account? What was the Charge for? What do some charges outstanding mean as I was initially replied by representative of Napean Sea Road Branch in response to my query?
4. If there was some amount outstanding in my account, how my account was transferred from Fort Branch to Napean Sea Road Branch without recovery?
5. If your Napean Sea Road branch have debited amount of Rs.174.71, why my account was suspended for debit after that debit and not released for transactions? Why there was further debit of Rs.382.61? What was the rationale for debiting Rs.174.71 & Rs.382.61 separately at the time gap of almost one and half months and not the full amount on 18-Dec-07? What was the exact amount outstanding on 18-Dec-07 & on 05-Feb-08? Why my account was not debited with the full amount outstanding on 18-Dec-07 itself?
6. How can Napean Sea Road branch debit my savings account without my authorization to the bank to do Direct Debit and without any intimation to me? How is your bank authorized to do such acts Suo-moto?
7. Why can’t bank find it out from their records any facts which they are asking from customer first instead of harassing customer to bring the records for some past years?
8. Though the acknowledgment was subjected to clearance of cheque, can’t they find out from their records whether cheque was honored or not? If not honored, whether the same was communicated to the account holder? Whether the charges were subsequently recovered? If recovered, how were they recovered, if not, why my account was not suspended then? How come there is no entry for either transaction in the statement?
9. Why your branch has waited till 05-Feb-08 for debiting the balance charge when I have authorized your branch to debit the necessary charge for this transaction only in post script of my letter DT. 24-Jan-08?
10. How your bank/branch will indemnify the losses which I have incurred due to suspension of my Demat account? What would be the compensation for the frustration and agony I have suffered?
11. What are the security measures available to customer like me against such malpractices by bank?
I find that my Demat as well as Savings account with NApean Sea Road Branch of Axis Bank, Mumbai are really mis-handled leading to confusion and chaos at your end and frustration and agony at my end. There is glaring lack of clarity as to the purpose and the quantum of the charges debited to my account. The statements provided in support of your actions are far away from the truth. They are manufactured with dubious intent to cover up your mistake and to save face from disgrace to your branch as well as your bank.
For the bank like that of yours, who claims for highest standard of Customer Service, such claims are needs to be revisited in light of such instances.
Also, this compels us to think and think hard on the security point of view of the customer as such things can happen in future with any customer with magnitude of problem may be higher and larger and could be more complex. There has to be some recourse available to Customer Directly and they should not be made to run around and present proofs to substantiate their clear position. Onus of proving the actions and charges debited to the customer should be first on the bank and then on the customer.
I expect that fair judgment be made by looking at several aspects of the case in the light of facts furnished by me and deal with my claims and suggestions suitably.
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